When looking for new windows in Ottawa, initial considerations typically revolve around which style looks the most appealing and how low a price you can pay to get the desired style of window you like.
Truth is, windows serve many more functions than being decorative so it’s critical to understand the energy efficiency ratings of windows as well. The inherent costs of ignoring this include higher heating and cooling bills, reduced home comfort, and having to replace units or perform maintenance sooner than later.
The main purpose of a window is to provide natural light and fresh air into our homes, while keeping the unwanted aspects of the outdoors on the other side of the window. This important aspect of your home can account for up to 30% of total house heat loss, so we invite you to read on and learn more about how windows can save you money.
There are a variety of benefits to buying energy efficient windows and doors. These are related to the mitigation of the negative aspects of openings to the outdoors. You will be more comfortable because of the elimination of cold drafts leading to a warmer room temperature during the heating season. Condensation on your windows will be lower due to keeping the humidity out, eliminating this cause of premature damage to the window, walls and finishes. Additional benefits to reducing condensation are a longer lasting window and a marked improvement of air quality. Since seals and construction are of a higher standard there is also a reduction in the penetration of dust, dirt, insects and sound into your home.
The largest and most blatantly apparent benefit to new energy efficient windows is the energy savings you stand to gain when upgrading. An average home may lose 30% of its heat or air-conditioning energy through its windows. Our selections of sealed window systems are roughly twice as efficient than windows made ten years ago. When purchasing the highest quality products there can also be a net energy gain where the money invested in the upgrade can be made back in about two to ten years. Due to the increased durability of newer window systems, you are investing in lower maintenance costs and need for repair as well.
What is ENERGY STAR?
The most common form of measurement consumers can recognize for products is the ENERGY STAR program that was established by the EPA in 1992 to reduce air pollution. In Canada the program is administered by Natural Resources Canada, further reading can be found here. The primary purpose of the program is to get manufacturers involved in producing higher efficiency energy products for use at home. This is done by identifying, testing and labeling products that meet the highest energy-efficiency standards. Typically an ENERGY STAR qualified product is in the top 15 to 30% of its class for energy performance.
ENERGY STAR Zone
There are four zones in Canada to consider when purchasing energy star windows. Theses zones are separated by HDD, which is the annual sum of degrees of the average daily temperature for all days below 18 degrees Celsius. They are ranked A to D with A being the hottest zone in the country and limited to southwestern British Columbia. In Ottawa we are located in zone B, so do keep a look out for a mention of zone B on the label or in the manual of your product. The more zones listed on the label: the more energy efficient it will be.
For windows, multiple panes of glass are used to reduce air flow and heat transfer. Doors often rely on improved core materials such as fiberglass, wood cladding, and steel. These materials are the most energy-efficient to better insulate your home. To reduce heat loss, ENERGY STAR-qualified windows are filled with gas and coated in low-e coatings. Low-e coatings are used because they reflect back part of your room’s heat in the winter. The materials that make up the seals of the window are rated with U-factors. This factor indicates the rate at which the window conducts heat, in other words a lower U-factor indicates a better quality seal around the window.
Make sure that trained professionals undertake your window installation because your manufacturer’s warranty might be void when not undertaken by trained professionals. In other words, energy efficient windows aren’t efficient when installed improperly! If you have any questions about how windows can be of benefit to your home; or want to know more about our selection of ENERY STAR windows, please call us at 613-738-9500.